Davutoglu: Turkey and Azerbaijan have agreed to complete the TANAP before 2018.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.12.15) reported that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday that Turkey and Azerbaijan have agreed to complete the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) before 2018.
Speaking in a joint press conference with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku, Davutoglu said: "We have reached an agreement [with Azerbaijan] to realize the TANAP project not in 2018 as planned, before that ".
"We will work on it non-stop. We will do whatever is needed for the TANAP project," he added.
"TANAP and Baku-Tbilisi and Ceyhan, as two big projects, are the main channels to transfer oil and natural gas from the Caspian to the Mediterranean and Europe," Davutoglu said.
Davutoglu's meeting with Aliyev followed the deterioration of bilateral ties with Moscow after Turkey downed a Russian warplane.
Russian officials also said on Thursday that the negotiations over the multi-billion-dollar Turkish Stream pipeline project, which would have carried Russian natural gas to Europe through Turkey, have been suspended.
Alexey Miller, chief executive officer of the Russian energy company Gazprom, said that Turkey had not got back to Russia with a proposal about the project, adding that it was now waiting for an intergovernmental agreement between Ankara and Moscow.
On Wednesday, Turkey's Petroleum Pipeline Corporation and Qatar's national oil company signed a memorandum of understanding for long-term LNG trade, which was interpreted by analysts as a counter measure to end dependence on Russian gas imports.
As Turkey is an energy-dependent country and meets about 92% of its oil and 98% of its natural gas needs through imports, Azerbaijan with its vast hydrocarbon reserves in the Caspian region, is strategically important.
In Baku, Davutoglu also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to defuse the increased tension: "Let's meet on the negotiating ground, instead of [making] bilateral accusations. Then, if any information about the cirmcumstances of the incident [downing the warplane] and how it occurred is requrred, we've already shared it but we will share it one more time."
He also added: "Turkey is ready to discuss every topic with Russia. (?) The only things that we will not negotiate are the borders of the Republic of Turkey or its right to independence."
However, Davutoglu criticized Moscow's series of economic sanctions, describing it as a "contradiction". "Those who do not like economic embargos imposed on them, should not place an embargo on others", said Davutoglu.